Tatia Pilieva's New Short Film Beautifully Depicts the Pain and Joy of Isolation

'Separated. Together' is a richly emotional work

Tatia Pilieva has always had a remarkable knack for exploring the rich, complex emotions of human togetherness. 

Tatia was one of the first people we interviewed for Muse, in 2018, when she explained her career-long quest to depict people "at their most vulnerable," often by constructing social experiments that created charged connections—most memorably in her viral short film "First Kiss," in which she had strangers kiss while her cameras rolled.

The isolation caused by the Covid-19 epidemic is, among other things, its own enormous and unprecedented social experiment. And so, it makes perfect sense that Pilieva saw our collective time in quarantine as material for a new film.

Below, check out the three-minute piece, in which Pilieva's friends—and friends of friends—describe the immense anxieties, and the small, transcendent moments of joy, that many have experienced in isolation.

"As we started sheltering in place, I decided to make my short documentary, mostly to combat the anxiety that looms over us," Pilieva tells Muse. "My only objective was to highlight our solidarity as people without diluting the gravity of the situation." 

She started with a simple questionnaire, which she sent to her subjects, and asked them to film themselves.

"I continued to revise the questions and my own direction as the situation worsened," she says. "Inherently, once I found the narrative framework in the edit, I moved onto more personal footage in order to add a little bit of poetry to it. Hopefully the end result is a moving reflection of what most of us are experiencing right now. I’m hoping for a profound change after this moment in time."

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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